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YAD Family Shabbat brings young families together

Kids participating at a recent YAD Family Shabbat at Temple Emanuel.

Kids participating at a recent YAD Family Shabbat at Temple Emanuel.

Held several times throughout the year, YAD Family Shabbat offers the opportunity for young families to celebrate Shabbat together.

Inspired by JEWISHcolorado’s YAD Shabbat, held quarterly for young people 22-45, the program takes place in partnership with area synagogues and has also been supported by the JCC.

The next YAD Family Shabbat is Oct. 26 at HEA.

The Intermountain Jewish News caught up with one of its organizers, Adriane Greenberg, who is also the current YAD (Young Adult Department) chair.

How did YAD Family Shabbat start?

I was on the YAD Shabbat committee for JEWISHcolorado and I was pregnant with my first son. I realized that I wanted to celebrate Shabbat with my family. My husband Josh and I came up with this idea for celebrating Shabbat with our new friends, and starting a new tradition of celebrating Shabbat with young families.

We sat down with Jco and pitched the idea. Together we collaborated and YAD Family Shabbat was born.

Did you participate in YAD Shabbat before you had a family?

We did. Whitney Chotin, who at the time was YAD chair, also wanted to do some family programing. When our idea came she also had the same idea and jumped on it.

What’s the goal for YAD Family Shabbat?

To create a place where young families can get together without pressure to celebrate Shabbat, and to create a sacred space for young families to celebrate Shabbat.

Describe a typical YAD Shabbat evening.

We always start with an activity for the kids. Most of our Shabbats have a theme; for example, music, a holiday or Israel. [The upcoming Shabbat has a music theme.] We try to do activities based around the theme, or have a fun arts and crafts project or a sensory table.

We do some of the Shabbat prayers. Then we have dinner. Sometimes we have a musical service after. Sometimes we open up the activity again after. It depends on the Shabbat.

Where does YAD Family Shabbat take place?

We give the dates to the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council and it lets the synagogues choose. At the beginning, the JCC, specifically Rachel Baum, was really integral in providing the activities. Now the preschools at the synagogues usually provide the activities.

We also do a social action or community service component. We always collect certain items. We’re looking to expand it to a mitzvah project that we would do the following Sunday with the items we collected.

Who leads the program?

We have a committee that meets to brainstorm activities and food. The staff at Jco take on a lot of the work and we also collaborate with whomever is hosting us.

Recently the services we do have been led by someone from the synagogue, such as the cantor or musical director. The rabbis have also been really wonderful.

How many people usually attend?


What’s the energy at YAD Family Shabbat?

It’s high energy. Always chaos, but it’s organized chaos. It depends on the activity. Sometimes we have jumping castles. Sometimes it’s an art project. We try to do a variety of things.

The energy will be different, but it’s always loud and always chaotic. But we create a special time for people to celebrate Shabbat with their families.

What does Shabbat mean to you?

For me family is everything. To be able to celebrate Shabbat with other young families is so special to me.

We get a lot of people who are new to Colorado or new to Denver who don’t necessarily have a place to celebrate Shabbat. So it’s nice for them to have a place, a community to celebrate Shabbat with.

That we can create this organic place to celebrate Shabbat and bring meaning for all these young families is really special to me.

My other goal is that my kids would always love to be Jewish. That they we would always want to celebrate Shabbat. They call YAD Family Shabbat the Shabbat party. I think we’ve accomplished that.

How does family programming factor into YAD? 

YAD Family Shabbat was the first big thing. We’re working on expanding the family programming. We’re looking to collaborate with the programs that already exist, such as PJ Library and Jewish Explorers.

The family piece is really important to me.

Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Shana Goldberg

IJN Assistant Publisher | shana@ijn.com

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Shana R. Goldberg
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